Germany would take advantage of any trade opportunities in Asia and South America left by a protectionist United States, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“If Trump starts a trade war with Asia and South America, it will open opportunities for us,” Gabriel told Handelsblatt newspaper in an interview published Tuesday.
“Trump must simply recognize that the U.S. economy often isn’t competitive, while the German (economy) is,” he said, criticizing Trump’s threat to impose a 35 percent tariff on German cars imported from Mexico.
Trump signed an executive order formally withdrawing from the 12-nation TPP Monday, following through on a promise made during his election campaign. He called the move a “great thing for the American worker”.
Gabriel – Economy Minister and leader of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), who is expected to run against Chancellor Angela Merkel in September’s election – said German industry should remain confident in the face of Trump’s moves.
Barely 10 percent of German exports go to the United States, Gabriel said, while 60 percent go to other countries in Europe.